The (show) business of nostalgia

Staff Writer
Brig and Lehmo

I’m sitting backstage at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre. Drinking champagne and making small talk as a parade of familiar faces walk the hallways, chatting, laughing and drinking.

These faces are from my teen years watching Countdown through the 70s and 80s.  They’ve come together tonight for ARN’s Pure Gold Live shows.

“Nostalgia” shows can be a tricky thing.  It can be a little sad watching aging pop stars looking to resurrect a career or looking to make a few dollars out of their fading fame or performing their hits badly.

Thankfully, this is different.  Very much so. Following the success of the Sydney show last October, ARN brought the road show to Melbourne for two shows.

More than 3,000 fans have packed the Palais Theatre on Friday night for a trip down memory lane, rocking out  to the soundtrack of their youth.  Acts like Gangajang, Pseudo Echo, The Chantoozies, Ross Wilson, John Paul Young, Eurogliders and Rose Tattoo have them up on their feet and dancing.

It’s a clever tactic from ARN.  The show taps into nostalgia, without being ‘daggy’.  It delivered a show of past favourites, who can still belt out their ‘hits’ with no apparent show of age. On stage anyway.

It’s the brainchild of Empire Touring’s Marc Cristowski, who approached ARN with the concept and they quickly jumped on board.

“I rang up Mr Angry Anderson.  Angry, what did you say when I rang you up and said ‘do you want to get the old band together again’?

“Fuck off”

“And then what did you say?”

“How much money is there?”

So, I just rang up all the bands and they’re all thrilled to be part of it.  For them, it’s like a high school reunion.  They’re catching up.  It’s great”.

The mood back-stage was like a school re-union and the talk was of taking the show around the country. First Adelaide, then Brisbane and the Gold Coast, before returning to Sydney.

Gold 104.3 breakfast show co-host Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann is hoping the show will make it to other cities and maybe come back to Melbourne again.

“It’s just amazing.  I grew up with these bands in the 80s.  They were part of my youth.  So all of these bands are in my DNA and it’s just a joy to be involved.

And after doing stand up for years, it’s great to stand on stage with a sound system that just smashes the venue.  It’s great, it’s loud and I love it”.

There’s been no official statement from ARN on the future of the Pure Gold Live shows, but it would make sense to keep the ball rolling.  If Friday night’s crowd of 45+ Melbournians is any indication, the concept is a winner.

Rock on.

Brig  at Pure Gold Live

Pure Gold LIve and the Chantoozies with Brig and Lehmo

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